In My APPinion: SlowTunes

Saturday, August 31, 2013
APPy Saturday! I hope you all are off to a very relaxing holiday weekend. Those of you that have followed my blog know that I am in the profession of speech language pathology because of Apraxia. A close family friend was diagnosed with Child Apraxia of Speech (CAS) when he was very young. Going to see his therapy sessions changed my career path from a classroom teacher to an SLP.
When Brian Stokes contacted me about his app, SlowTunes, I was very excited. What makes this app so special is that Brian created it for his music loving daughter who was diagnosed with CAS. She had a hard time singing along with her favorite songs so he created this app for her. SlowTunes allows the song to be slowed down to a rate you choose without distorting the music or singer's voice. 
When you open the app, you are prompted to add songs to your playlist. When the music is playing, you have 3 speed options: Normal, Slower, Slowest. The settings option allows you to choose how slow you want the music to be. 
I tried this app out using my absolute favorite song, Hey (I Love You!) by Michael Franti. I was amazed how well this app works. You can definitely hear a difference in the song when changing settings but the music sounds exactly the same. 

I took a video demo of the app in use on my iPhone. I hope this helps give you a better idea how the app works! 

This is such a great app! I will be sharing this app with PreK teachers and parents of children that love to sing but maybe need a little extra help to keep up with their favorite song. 
In addition to using this with children that have CAS, I think children with fluency disorders would also greatly benefit from this app. When I was reading up on the app in the iTunes store, I saw that someone wrote a customer review stating how she used the app to help her learn Chinese. What a great idea!
Brian was so kind and offered a free copy of the app to one of my readers! For a chance to win, enter below!




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Friday Rewind: Highlights From Therapy This Week!

Friday, August 30, 2013
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convienience.
Haaaaaaaapy Friday!! I hope you all had a wonderful week. We have been house hunting and I think we may be close to owning a new home (keep your fingers crossed for me!) You may remember, in one of my more recent posts about organizing, I shared a picture of my home "office." Of course, I use the term office loosely being that it is simply a bookshelf in the corner of my daughter's play room. Our new house would give me much more room (well, at least my own therapy materials closet!) 
Stay tuned....
Being that it was the second week of school here in my county, I thought I would keep with the "Back To School" theme for one more week. Last week we read, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books!
 This week we followed up with, If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
I just love that little mouse! You can find SO many cute activities to use with this story on Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest. 
Another fun game I broke out this week was Avalanche Fruit Stand
I ordered this game on Amazon last week after learning about it from one of my students. 
You can check out an entire post about it and all the goals you can address with this game here!
To target pronouns, I used Brea's Tissue Box Preschool Pronoun activity! The activity includes pronouns for he, she, them, and it. The kids took turns pulling items out of the tissue box and making a sentence using the item and correct pronoun. I feel like teaching pronouns can be a bit tedious so I was excited about this find. You can download it for free here!

This was my week in therapy, I'd love to hear some of your highlights!

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In My APPinion: Basic Concepts Skills Screener by Smarty Ears

Thursday, August 29, 2013
The first few weeks of a new school year can be tough. Kids are getting used to their new teachers and schedules. You are trying to just get a schedule together. Some of your students are returning familiar faces and some are brand new. Chances are that they have recently been given a formal evaluation to either place them into therapy services or update testing scores. You can read the report until you are blue in the face but if you are like me, you like to do some sort of informal evaluation/ baseline data when you first start working with a new child. Enter the Basic Concepts Skills Screener by Smarty Ears! This app is a screening tool targeted for preschool and primary aged students and addresses spatial, quantitative, comparative, and temporal concepts. 
To get started, add your student and date of birth. After that, you choose between a full screening with 79 testing items or a quick screening with 30 testing items. 
The student is presented with pictures and given a direction. 
For example, "Touch the balloon that is above the house." 
One feature that I really liked about this app (and was actually talking to another SLP about this on Twitter recently!) is that no matter if the student's answer is right or wrong, the app makes the same noise. This is great for kiddos that maybe are new or do not have a lot of confidence. 
There is also a notes section for each child. This would be great to mention if they were sick, easily distracted, etc. during the time of the screening. 

After the screening is completed, a report is composed based on the student's performance! This is great to share with both teachers and parents. I mentioned earlier using this app when just getting to know a child. This would also be a great tool to measure growth. Administer the screening every 6 weeks or so to see how much progress the child has made. I am always looking for great ways to take data and this app is ideal. 
I have found this app very useful in therapy sessions. It has helped drive data to set new goals for students. This app also has the option of administering the screening in Portuguese. Being in Florida, I would love to suggest a Spanish option! 

Thank you Smarty Ears for another great app!


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Avalanche Fruit Stand!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your connivence.
I just love when I get home from work and I see an Amazon.com box sitting on my porch! I was super excited because I knew what was inside. Last week while working with one of my kiddos at his home, he introduced me to this awesome game called... Avalanche Fruit Stand
To play, you set up all the fruit on the fruit stand. Each player takes a turn spinning the spinner. You choose a piece of fruit from the stand based on what color or number the spinner lands on. You also have to be strategic about where you pick your piece of fruit from (kinda like in Jenga!)
My kiddos had a blast playing this game this week and every single one made me promise to bring it back next time. I love games that are educational and motivating (winning!)
This game allowed me to address the following goals (I'm sure there are more...)
Following directions
Vocabulary
Colors
Number Concepts
Counting
Turn Taking
Prepositions
Articulation (practice a target before a turn)
Fine Motor Skills

I just loved this game and had to share. 
Special thanks to Mason for introducing me to Avalanche Fruit Stand!



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Trivia Night Answers and September's Line Up!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Thank you so much to everyone that participated in trivia tonight! I have a strange obsession with fun facts. I love knowing quirky knowledge about random things! That is why I chose to make my trivia night about Fun Facts on Children's Books! If you did not get a chance to play or would like to know a little more info about the topics discussed tonight, keep reading! I have also posted September's SLP Trivia Night line up at the bottom of the post. 
Happy Tuesday!
OK, so I started out a little easy. 
But the majority of the questions I used came from the website Mental Floss.
1. Who is the author of the story, The Rainbow Fish?
Marcus Pfister

2. What story is about a cat the loves his shoes?
Pete the Cat

3. What story was banned in China because “Bears, lions, and other beasts cannot use human language?”
Alice in Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in parts of China. "Bears, lions and other beasts cannot use a human language," said General Ho Chien in 1931. "To attribute to them such a power is an insult to the human race."

4. What name did Norman Bridwell almost name the big red dog? 
Norman Bridwell almost called his big red dog Tiny, but his wife suggested Clifford — the name of her childhood imaginary friend.

5. What was The Very Hungry Caterpillar almost titled?
A Week With Willi Worm

6. How long did it take Dr. Seuss to write The Cat in the Hat?
Dr. Seuss said he expected to spend "a week or so" writing The Cat in the Hat. It ended up taking a year and a half.

7. What type of books did R.L Stein write before becoming a children’s horror author with the Goosebumps series?
Comedy! R.L. Stein wrote children's joke books. It is believed that his Goosebumps series was so successful because he knew how to balance horror and comedy.

8. How many words are used in Green Eggs and Ham?
50. Only 50 words. And that fact put Dr. Seuss on the winning side of a $50 bet with his publisher, Bennett Cerf, who said that he could not do it. What's more, 49 of the 50 words used in Green Eggs are one-syllable words. The lone multi-syllable word is "anywhere."
Remember to look for this badge from future SLP Trivia Hosts! Here is the line up for September (make sure you like their Facebook page to play!)
Tuesday 9/3/13: Live Love Speech
Tuesday 9/10/13: The Speech Bubble
Tuesday 9/17/13: Putting Words In Your Mouth

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Love It & List It Linky: Organization

Sunday, August 25, 2013
Happy Sunday y'all! I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I'm sure most of it revolved around organizing and planning since most of us are in the full swing of the school year now. Since organizing is such an important part of our job (and our sanity!) I wanted to share how I have been keeping organized these days. 
Now, here is my disclaimer: 
I am new to the world of only being a private therapist. I no longer have my cute little classroom where I store all my materials. I now have everything at home and I am constantly trying to find the best way to keep myself organized. 
Here is what I have come up with so far....
Disclaimer #2: sorry if this post has some errors... I am running back and forth from my computer to the TV waiting on the N*SYNC reunion on the VMA's :) I'm sure most of you will understand....
First up, let's talk (lack of) space. I seriously need a new house. Right now I am sharing my office with my daughter and her play room. It's actually not even an office.... it's a bookshelf.... in a corner. But so far so good. On the shelf I have children's books, text books, binders, materials, and games. That's not all of the games. Some are in the backseat of my car racking up frequent flyer miles. 
You may also notice some bins on the floor. The bins contain the majority of my TpT materials and thematic units. I have one bin for book units, one bin for language materials, and one for articulation materials. I have found it to be most helpful to use large ziplock bags and hanging files. I keep the unit materials and the book all together, labeled, and ready for quick access. 
Last but not least, I would be lost without my planner and patient binder. Since my schedule changes quite frequently, my planner (and a sharpened pencil with an eraser) is always by my side. Inside my binder, I keep my students' plan(s) of care and SOAP notes. 

I am hoping that I will be able to post a picture of my beautiful speech office in the near further. In the mean time, this is how I keep myself organized. Thanks Jenna for hosting another great linky party! You can check out the original post here.


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Friday Rewind: Highlights From Therapy This Week!

Friday, August 23, 2013
So it's Friday, we made it.  Most of you are wrapping up your first week of school! How was it? I have to be honest, I missed the excitement and crazyness that comes with the first week of school. But most of my students started back at school this week too, so I embraced the Back to School theme in therapy this week!
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convience. 
 by Lucille Colandro. I just love these Old Lady books (and so do the kids!) There are so many fun activities to go along with this book. Most of the activities I used came from Jenn Alcorn's activity companion. You can check it out here
The kids had a blast feeding the old lady school supplies this week and creating a story sequencing book. In addition, I used part of The Dabbling Speechie's Pronoun Fun activity with the vocabulary card's from Jenn's companion! I love when I can combine activities!!
My articulation kiddos had fun throwing bean bags at target words this week, too. To play, they would use the sentence, "I want to hit the _____" as they threw a bean bag at a target. Then they would use the sentence, "I hit the ____" after they threw them. Who doesn't love bean bags? This was also a good activity to get them out of their chairs and moving a bit. 

I hope you all had a great first week back to school. I can't wait to hear all about it!


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Speachy Feedback Linky Party!

Thursday, August 22, 2013
It's that time again to celebrate wonderful feedback. I am so grateful to all of you that continue to leave feedback that is both helpful and heartwarming. 
The feedback winner that I chose this week was kad216. What she said really warmed my heart and reminded me why I do what I do. We all originally started creating materials to help students and it is so great to hear when they are successful. 
So, if your user name is kad216, head over to my store and choose any product you would like for free. Send me an email at kcummingsslp@yahoo.com
Thank you to everyone who takes the time to leave feedback!

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Speech Centers: Listening Center!

Saturday, August 17, 2013
The start of the school year is upon us. Have you started planning your lessons yet? Last school year I implemented speech centers into my articulation therapy groups. The reason I started using centers was that I had a high caseload with students that had very different goals. I wanted to be able to address each student's individual needs during each therapy session... but that is often quite difficult when you are servicing kids 5 at a time. So implementing speech centers seemed to be the solution to my madness! If you have not seen my earlier posts on speech centers, click here to see how successful they were and how I used them in my speech room!
When I wrote my first blog post about speech centers and what I used, there were a lot of questions about my listening center. I created a power point presentation for the students to listen to when they are at the Listening Center. I have a separate slide show for each sound. The student clicks through the slide show of their target sound and listens to the entire presentation (kind of like an auditory bombardment activity.) There is an audio button in the middle of each slide. When the student clicks on the button, they hear the name of the picture produced. I had no idea you could add your own audio to a power point presentation until I started making these! I let the students use my laptop with headphones so the other students were not disturbed. I also had the student sitting in viewing range so I could make sure they were staying on task. 
Each slide show has about 40 images that contain the target sound in the initial, medial, and final position. You can download your own copy of my Listening Center Power Points in my TpT Store!


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Birthday Bash Winners!

Eeek!! I am so excited to announce the winners to this week's Birthday Bash Giveaways! Before I do, please read how to claim your prize! If prizes are not claimed by Monday August 19th, I will choose a new winner. 

If your name is listed below as a winner, please email me at kcummingsslp@yahoo.com with the subject Birthday Giveaway Winner. 

OK, enough with that. Drum roll please......

HUGE SLP Packet: Katie Gurley

Lanyard or Badge Reel from ewindbigler Designs: Amanda Greene
Mason Jar Tumbler from LittleBitsofCountry: Megan Elschlager

Apps
Preposition Builder: Lorraine Tierney
Preposition Builder: Emilee Cooley
Preposition Journey: Heather Kracht
School of Multistep Directions: Stacy Goldberg
Describe with Art: Rebecca Johnson

Heidi Songs: LaNessa Hof

May Designs: Leslie Dempsey

Congratulations!


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